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The Strange, Sad Case of ‘Called Out’ (a.k.a. ‘Settle Your Grudge’) (a.k.a. ‘Fight It Out’)


(Google Image Search for “robbery.”)

Hey, wanna hear something fucked up? Cool. But first, some backstory:

12/11/07:
Rodrigo Gracie, Crosley Gracie, Platinum Heaven Productions, and Applebox Entertainment announce their intentions to launch a reality show called Settle Your Grudge, in which real people involved in personal disputes are trained in BJJ so they can settle them on the mat; a “famous face” would be hosting the show.

2/12/08:
CagePotato finally catches wind of it. We take the anti- stance, calling the concept “‘tarded.” To quote ourselves: “[I]s hand-to-hand combat ever the best way to settle disputes between managers/employees and teachers/students? At that point, haven’t we conceded that society has basically failed? … That ‘Cop vs. Con’ episode alone would be enough for me to stamp ‘DENIED’ on this bitch.”

2/17/08:
This posting shows up on RealityWanted.com, claiming that Tito Ortiz will be involved in a new reality show in which real people involved in disputes will be trained so the beef can be settled in a cage-fight. Sample line: “UFC Champion Tito Ortiz is going to train you to battle out your problems in the Octagon!! We are looking for ALL SHAPES AND SIZES to walk into the ring and settle it once and for all!!!!”

2/19/08:
CagePotato comes across the posting, assumes that Tito Ortiz is the “famous face” involved in Settle Your Grudge, and posts this. To quote ourselves: “The posting reinforces what initially skeeved us out about the show’s concept to begin with — their attitude that when personal disputes get too heated, “the only way to [resolve them] is to fight it out!” It’s like they’ve never realized that losing a fight makes the average person more hostile afterwards, and winning a fight often makes the winner even more of a prick than he was in the first place.”

3/14/08:
Dan Frenkel of Applebox Entertainment reads our previous post, and leaves us this comment: “First off, I would like to comment that our show starring Rodrigo and Crosley Gracie is in no way affiliated with Tito Ortiz or his show. Second, although real its just simple ENTERTAINMENT. It still beats watching crap like “who wants to marry a tranny”. If you don’t like it do us all a favor and don’t watch it. And if you really don’t like it think about auditioning, whimpy!” For a moment, we have an urge to pretend to be journalists and contact Frenkel so he can set the record straight in a more official sort of way. Then we realized that we really, really don’t care about Settle Your Grudge or Tito’s show, beyond the fact that there are two shows based on the same ‘tarded concept, which is kind of amusing. Our lives resumed as before.

Then this happened.

3/28/08 (today):
Our Tito Ortiz post receives the following epic comment from a guy named Bret Draven:

To all disconcerting MMA fans,

My name is Bret Draven. I am one of three Co-founders/Executive Producers of Step Up or Shut Up Productions, LLC, based in Bremerton, WA. My goal in writing is to bring attention to recent events in Hollywood, CA that have just recently come to light. Namely, the upcoming, already in production reality based television show titled, “Fight it Out” featuring, as the host, the UFC’ S Tito Ortiz.

No worries…Mr. Ortiz is not the only person I’ll be taking aim at! It also seems the iconic Gracie “Jui Jitsu” camp has a similar concept nearing production titled, “Settle Your Grudge.”

You’re probably asking yourself, “And…?”

Well, I sincerely believe that American’s passionately root for an underdog…and we’re it! Plain and simple! So, here’s the story from its inception…

In late-October 2006, my partners and I scripted a fighting/feuding, grudge-match based reality television show titled, “Called Out.” It wasn’t long before we realized we had something with “legs,” and after talking to some industry insiders we formed Step Up or Shut Up Productions, LLC to safeguard our idea. Upon formation of the LLC, we registered “Called Out” as intellectual property with the Screen Writers Federation of America (No. R692-11723, submitted 11/20/06 @ 3:55PM,) and the Writers Guild of America (No. 1169153, submitted 12/01/2006 @ 4:56PM) and began actively seeking representation.

We met with Screen Actors Guild agent James J. Jones of The Premier Talent Group-LA (www.thepremiertalentgroup.com) in early-December 2006 who, after confirming our suspicions that we had something with “legs,” immediately signed us as clients. We then established our website (www.calledout.tv) dedicating it to the Mixed Martial Arts world, its fans, and anything else that we thought was fun in the hopes of procuring a stage for what we could only hope would follow. Never did we dream that there might ever be a problem.

We began discussions with well-known members in the MMA community, hoping to secure their potential participation and conceptual involvement with our project. Coincidentally, or not, Mr. Jones already represented several of these fighters. However, as I am a man who despises name dropping, all parties involved shall remain anonymous. Let’s leave it at…these fighters are the cream of the crop, and they were not Tito Ortiz or members of the Gracie Camp.

So, let’s delve into the issue at hand; three shows, three different organizations, and one concept. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ménage a trios, but not when it involves something we’ve taken to the level that we have.

Now it’s time for the big gun. I would like to submit for your perusal Exhibit A: The “basic” concept of our show (not the full synopsis which includes thirty plus episodes);

CALLED OUT

SO YOU’RE READY TO GET IT ON? WE CAN HELP!
Do you have a score to settle? Do you have a feud that’s been going on forever? Do you know someone who’s impossible to deal with? Do you know someone who’s made your life utterly miserable? Have you lost your self-respect? Do you need vindication? Do you have no hope of reconciliation? Worried about jail time for your actions? If you answered HELL YES to any of these questions…we can help!!! CALL THEM OUT!

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS
You contact the crew of “CALLED OUT” and tell us your tale of misery. Next…the crew travels to the location of your opponent and delivers YOUR ultimatum. “Joe wants to fight you in the ring (In front of a live audience) and settle any of your differences once and for all.” “You have two options, show up and fight or you’ll be…CALLED OUT!”

WHO CAN I “CALL OUT?”
“Called Out” is a forum for JOE ORDINARY to redeem their respect and settle a long standing feud. Customer vs. clerk, neighbor vs. neighbor, relative vs. relative, friend vs. former friend, former employee and boss…ANYONE who wants their respect back!

THE HOOK-UP
You will then be given a one week crash course in “fighting.” You’ll be instructed by professional MMA fighters that will train you in a variety of techniques, all while preparing you for the inevitable…THE FIGHT!

THE FIGHT
This is a run what you “brung” event! [Ed. note: I'm neither young enough nor black enough to understand what that last sentence means.] Someone talked smack, so…STEP UP OR SHUT UP! To answer any potential questions…there will be no weight classes. However, all “CALLED OUT” fights will mirror the UFC and all applicable state laws and regulations will be in effect. What does this mean to me? No head butts, groin strikes, eye gouging, biting, or kicks to the head of a downed opponent. Everything else applies!

WHAT DO WE NEED FROM YOU?
Tell us your story…WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHY AND WHAT? We will review your submissions and let you know if your feud is ready to be…”CALLED OUT!”

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
Winner receives $5000 and loser receives $1000.

WHAT IF I GET “CALLED OUT” AND DON’T WANT TO FIGHT?
If you are challenged and decide not to fight, you’ll be entered into our “HALL OF SHAME”

For a complete listing of fight particulars, requirements and waivers, contact… info@calledout.tv Copyright 2006, STEP UP OR SHUT UP PRODUCTIONS, LLC. All rights reserved.

Exhibit B: Tito Ortiz’s, “Fight It Out”, courtesy of;
www.realitywanted.com

[Ed. note: Draven then copy/pastes the Reality Wanted post from 2/17]

Sounding all too familiar? I thought so too! So, without further ado …here’s Exhibit C: The Gracie’s “Settle Your Grudge”, courtesy of www.cagepotato.com

[Ed. note: Draven then copy/pastes the first half of our 2/12 post on Settle Your Grudge]

Now, I’ve never been accused of being the smartest man in the world, but, “Fight It Out,” and “Settle Your Grudge,” are about as original and timely as a choreographed muff shot courtesy of Hollywood’s “elite.” Stick to what you guys know best…like making fun of Ken Shamrock or defending against Matt Hughes. Please, leave the original ideas to somebody without cauliflower ear. All we ask is that you to decide for yourself! Truth be told, we’ll be surprised if many of you hardcore fans get to read this before Dana White/Zuffa issues a cease and desist. And for Tito and the Gracie’s…best wishes in ‘08.

If you would like more information about this and/or want to steal one of our other shows (of which there are many), feel free to contact us at the following: bret@calledout.tv or mike@calledout.tv

So first of all, feel free to e-mail Bret and Mike to steal one of their many show ideas; they seem like nice enough guys.

Now, how is it possible that three completely independent production teams came up with identical show concepts at around the same time? I think it has less to do with intellectual property theft and more to do with the general level of creativity involved in TV production. I’m no expert by any means, but judging from the shows I make it a point to regularly miss every week, here’s how I think it goes:

INT. TV STUDIO BOARD MEETING – MIDDAY

Studio exec: So…what are the kids into these days?

Producer 1: Well, the hot thing right now seems to be [something that has invaded the culture in the past six months].

Studio exec: Hmm. So how do we turn that into a show?

Producer 2: We could always [pitches concept that involves that "hot thing" treated in the dumbest, most reductive way possible.]

Studio exec: I like it. It’s edgy, but not too edgy. Make it happen.

In other words, let’s say I’m a TV producer and I start hearing about this “mixed martial arts” thing. I don’t understand it, and I don’t intend to figure it out, but if it’s doing well on pay-per-view, it’ll do even better on free TV. So I need a concept, preferably with a “reality TV” element to keep costs down. Hey, I’ve got it — put real people in the cage to fight, just like those “ultimate fighters.” One week of training should be plenty. I’ve been watching UFC fights all afternoon, and I already feel like an expert. And to amp up the drama, the fighters should have personal grudges against each other. Brilliant! Because we all have that one co-worker we want to strangle (sorry, “rear-naked choke”), that one brother-in-law who’s always such a pain in the ass. This thing has “hit” written all over it!

Except that’s the first concept that almost every TV producer curious about MMA will have, because it’s the simplest, most lunkheaded one; it’s the knee-jerk idea that misses the target altogether. And at least three are actually going through with it. But hey, good luck to everyone involved. After all, Don’t Forget the Lyrics didn’t stop production just because The Singing Bee came first. And those shows are totally sweet! Now if you’ll excuse us, we have a few episodes of Who Wants to Marry a Tranny? to catch up on…

Cagepotato Comments

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ajaykumar- September 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm
I’d like to beat Dana White/Zuffa to the punch and be the first to issue a cease and desist on this douchebaggery. My Counsel will be in touch…
Engineering Ebooks
proslaviy- September 15, 2008 at 8:13 pm
Hi, how I can send PM?
Dan Frenkel- April 1, 2008 at 10:09 am
WOW!!!!!!

Hey, we are getting tons of attention and that is a good thing! Look, I know the trailer seems as if we threw it together quick, and I will admit that is exactly what we did. The Trailer was intended for a rough cut idea for media and broadcast execs only and ended up on the official website so we can direct those individuals to it for viewing purposes.
Again to all, we did not "steal,or rip off" anyones idea. Lets face it, Mr.Draven could have had an "idea" long ago and thats great but just because he says he thought of it first means nothing. Its unfortunate that Mr. Draven apparently couldnt get his concept off the ground and we did. We will continue to produce this show and look at your comments and try to read constructive critics views on all this but I can promise my bet
will be that all of you will tune in when the show is in final cut. Again, we had the idea on our own and do not steal properties that belong to others. Please be patient and watch the show, it might be violent and even "tarded" but we know why everyone loved the original UFC and that was just pure crazy violence, but we all loved it anyway, remember? We will bring back the good old times and just plain ol' good entertainment. For those of you who think we suck or should get our asses kicked,,,I say this....If you still feel so strongly about that after watching the show come down to the office and we can "talk about it" or sign you up to fight, whatever floats your boat! Dont knock it til you try it! Thank you all for the hype!!! Dan Frenkel/producer "SYG"
PUDGY1- March 30, 2008 at 2:31 pm
Call it a stupid idea ... but all you motherfuckers would be watching it!! I have to admit though ... your site does need some help!!! Bottom line... its not about the show being good or bad, its about the idea getting stolen!! Its about the average joe trying to make something and getting held down!! this isn't the first time you guys will get knocked down... just make sure you keep getting up!! GOOD LUCK!
Rumbler- March 29, 2008 at 1:46 am
*points finger@Bret Draven* and says: “HAHA”
MMA Extreme- March 28, 2008 at 11:57 pm
wow, interesting stuff.. regardless, as a fight fan, i'll probably watch all 3. :(
Bret Draven- March 28, 2008 at 9:30 pm
It's alright to hate the show idea...we have lovers and haters! So what! The simple matter of fact is....we developed a project, involved top tier fighters (who didn't think the concept was lame) and attempted to take it to the next level. So much for that. Now it becomes a matter of pride....turning the other cheek is not only lame, it's un-American! Take it or leave it...but, I'm sure you'd be bitchin' if the roles were reversed!
Bret Draven- March 28, 2008 at 9:13 pm
I can feel the love!
iRACEmoto166- March 28, 2008 at 6:19 pm
Wow have you gone to look at their website? Personally to me it looks like they swooped on the idea from someone else and through that piece of shit together over night. haha and if you look at their little message board, the only two people on it are the two guys that run the damn thing so either a) they delete all the posts of people hating on it or b) no one gives a shit!
Judge Judy- March 28, 2008 at 4:36 pm
Alot of people scream that Kimbo is wrecking mma, but's really its shit like this. shit like this has to be sunk before it really ruins reality based televison.
The Chick- March 28, 2008 at 3:49 pm
I find so many things about this disconcerting... first and foremost, that a studio exec can have such horrific grammar.
holycow- March 28, 2008 at 12:08 am
chicks in masks packing heat. that's awsome
Bdizzle- March 27, 2008 at 9:27 pm
I say that you call out Bret and send him to the Hall of Shame!!!
MMAFightResults- March 27, 2008 at 9:18 pm
naw dawg, you homies got it all wrawng. its allbout THE IRON RING
totaldb- March 27, 2008 at 8:07 pm
I'd like to beat Dana White/Zuffa to the punch and be the first to issue a cease and desist on this douchebaggery. My Counsel will be in touch...
Toner Breath- March 27, 2008 at 7:41 pm
wow... this is moving backwards for the sport.

I hereby am calling out "Bret Draven", I have a a score to settle with him.. WHY??

Because he is trying to capitalize on the rapid growth of MMA by pushing a lame reality show concept... You can contact me at tonerbreath@hotmail.com

C'mon man, don't puss out... don't want to see you on your "HALL OF SHAME"...

what a toolbox...

seriously...
Greg- March 27, 2008 at 7:35 pm
Yea me to.
Dana White- March 27, 2008 at 6:54 pm
Isn't there a legit version of this show called THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER? Am I the only one who thinks all of these shows will SUCK? Tito's show will be virtually unwatchable because he is a moron and the Gracie's at least will be able to have some "cred" to it because the fighters will be trained (I hope) so they don't break anything or kill each other. I don't think I would want to sit through 30 minutes of bullshit fumbling around until someone "submits" the other person and then Tito runs in the ring with all his Team Punishment gear on and says wow guys way to FIGHT IT OUT!!

How many fights has Bret Draven been in to come up with such an expert "concept"?
CagePotatoMMA